A man has described a fire in his flat caused by a UPP e-bike battery as like “missiles coming down my corridor”. Reece Street bought the battery via Amazon last October and lost thousands of pounds worth of belongings following the fire which happened a month later, Nottinghamshire Live reports.
“It has 80 capsules in the battery pack, so it had 80 explosions,” Street said. “Luckily I had a blanket with me in the living room so I just held it up in front of me and managed to get out.”
The 32-year-old said he disconnected the battery pack from the charger at around 3am on November 13 last year after it had reached 100%, but the fire began around an hour later forcing an evacuation of the nine-property building.
Only Street’s flat was destroyed and he has since been rehomed. Amazon has also given him a full refund of nearly £500 following the fire, but he said this is, “nothing compared to what it's done to my head. I'm now struggling to sleep at night”.
The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) recently issued withdrawal notices to four online marketplaces requiring them to stop selling the UPP e-bike battery, saying it had been linked to a number of fires across England.
Sold via Amazon, AliBaba, eBay and Made in China, they said the battery presents a “serious risk of fire”, as it is “poorly built with poor welding to connect the components. The product also did not have a heat sensor to prevent overheating, with the battery management system not sufficient to prevent the battery from entering thermal runaway.”
Charity Electrical Safety First is calling on the Government to introduce third party approval for all e-bikes, e-scooters and their batteries, saying that while it welcomes the recent withdrawal notices, “we need to prevent dangerous e-bike and e-scooter batteries entering homes in the first place”.
Street said he is flagging down e-bike riders he sees in Nottingham to warn them about the dangers of using UPP battery packs: “Probably 80% of Nottingham [e-bike users] are still riding around with the same battery pack.”
An Amazon spokesperson said safety is “a top priority”, adding that the products, “have been removed from the store and we are in contact with the customer to investigate further”.
They added: “We require all products offered in our store to comply with applicable laws and regulations and we monitor for product safety concerns. If customers have concerns about an item they've purchased, we encourage them to contact our customer service team so we can investigate and take appropriate actions to protect customers.”
Last week the Government published new guidance on how to buy, store and charge e-bikes. The documents put heavy emphasis on fire safety with particular focus on DIY conversion kits, modifications and replacement parts.